11) The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner - Ben Folds Five

The year was 1999, and I was a senior about to graduate from high school. I had just left Best Buy (and thank god for that) and started working at the record store. I honestly don't know what drew me to this album- I had heard the first one a few times (truth be told, I think I got it from the library a bunch of times... a practice that was about to go bye-bye due to the amazingness of working at an indie record store). I was so about to graduate that it was actually graduation day. I stopped into the record store to get my schedule for the next week and saw that we had a copy of this that had just come in. Five minutes (and a free copy of the album) later, I was on my way to Mentor High to get ready for high school to officially end. Which was ironic, considering I had no fucking clue what I was doing with my life. Fun fact- fifteen years later, I still don't know. Hell, I can't even consistently write about music I like ONCE A WEEK. Awesome. But I digress.

So yeah. I never thought about joining the Army. But I did think about how great this song is. The album's full of great songs, really. There's "Army", and "Magic", which is a love song about LOVE. The awe-inspiring, breathtaking feeling of LOVE love. Except it's not. It's about suicide. It's not damning them for being selfish. It's about where they are and who they are. What they mean now. It's beautiful. I guess that's a by-product of a band that has no guitar player. Everything's lighter- even the sad songs. The standout to me, even from the first listen, was "Don't Change Your Plans". It's the end of a relationship that has taken the singer farther than perhaps they'd like to be... and not as far as their significant other wants them. So maybe they'll just go back to the start. But even in that realization- that other person is almost enough to stay.

It's not a happy album. I guess a lot of the ones I like aren't. I guess that says things about me that I should've realized a while ago. Anywho- there's a lot of good songs. There's even some lighthearted stuff, like "Narcolepsy" and "Your Redneck Past". It's really good. You should listen to it.